|South Gate of Angkor Thom|
|The moat surrounding Angkor Thom|
Standing at the huge 100 meter wide moat, which surrounds the ancient city, we can only imagine how stunned visitors in the past must have been when they looked at the crocodiles-filled water. Today it offers a quiet setting, nice views onto the moat, the 8 meter high and 13 kilometer long wall and the causeway over it.
|The god's side of the causeway|
My tour guide gave me his brief introduction again as we walked past the huge heads of the gods and through the gate, being passed by elephants, tuk-tuks and bicycles. Luckily no cars or mini-buses, which provided a perfect atmosphere. I did come back again one evening and the light of the setting sun on the faces was just awesome.
The Bayon temple is a major stop here and since it is so important I will focus on it in a separate blog.
|Impressive Baphoun temple|
The Baphoun temple is a huge structure and is still being restored today. When I visited it the first time it looked even more incomplete, since restoration work had stopped here for 20 years during the Khmer Rouge years. 300.000 stones, which were taken apart before the civil war, were left untouched until after the war. While the structure is impressive, there is no such greatness to see as in Angkor Wat or in the Bayon. Back in the year 2000 we saw single stones lying around a huge area and a lot of them have been put back into this huge puzzle of stones forming one huge dome, but it is by far not living up to the grandeur it must have once had as a Hindu temple structure.
|Terrace of the Elephants|
The Terrace of the Leper King is the continuation of the platform to the north. There is so much detail and so many temples and monuments to see here in the heart of Angkor Thom, that we could easily spend a full day here alone. But most visitors just pay a brief visit to the Bayon and then go on to continue their tour, which leaves enough opportunity to explore the Great City almost undisturbed from other tourists.
|Lions and Garudas|